• Expanded Broad Match Goes Loco On Local
    As Google's expanded broad match broadens its horizons, advertisers continue to suffer. The rationale behind the change is that Google is doing the legwork for you, so you can get more clicks and impressions off a small selection of keywords. The example provided by the Google Adwords Team was "Honolulu hotels," showing how, when broad-matched, you could reap the benefits of traffic from "Hawaii Hotels" and "Honolulu inns," etc. What they failed to mention is that you may very well show up on "Austin Hotels" or even "NYC Hotels." Unbelievable? Well it should be, but tell that to www.nyc.hotel, whose …
  • A Remarkable Life
    At 10 this morning, my wife called and asked me to come home to look after our kids while she went to stay with her grandmother in the last few hours of her life. So I'm writing this from home, knowing that just a few miles away, there's a hospital room filled with far more visitors than it could possibly hold, all holding hands and praying for a woman who has lived an exceptional life in so many ways.
  • The Death Of Street View Optimization
    In my last column, I defined the birth of Google Street View Optimization (SVO) -- an entirely new and previously undiscovered marketing concept designed to make the most of one's own personal appearances in Google Street View photos. But less than one week after the debut of this great search marketing innovation, Google has informally announced that they will be blurring out people's faces and other identifying info captured by the GoogleBalt from Street View, which effectively renders all of my outlined SVO optimization concepts meaningless. In less than a week after its birth, SVO is now dead.
  • Google's Faces Of The Stranger: The Broker
    Lest we forget, Google's most visible, enduring face is still that of the search engine. During the past two weeks, we took a look at Google's role as a Banker of information peddling Gmail and photo storage, and then as a Babysitter shepherding and editing news comments. Yet in this final edition, we'll see a more familiar face of Google. We'll meet the Broker of the dynamic AdWords market -- where the rules change constantly, just as they notably did last week when Google rewrote some of its rules for advertisers.
  • Privacy Or Individuality?
    According to reports from last week's Wall Street Journal, Facebook plans to deliver advertising that's targeted to users' personal profiles. Targeting parameters will include "not only... age, gender and location," the Journal reports, "but also... details such as favorite activities and preferred music" -- as well as information about users' friends. Have no doubt; the privacy-minded will rebel.
  • Keeping Up With Complexity: Matching Google At Its Algorithm Game
    Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at the RBC Capital Markets North American Technology Conference with several online marketing experts. Our group acknowledged that paid search is becoming increasingly complex, requiring search engine marketers to use more sophisticated methods to manage their campaigns.
  • Buzzing 'Bout Ask
    I've written before about how I like many of things that Ask is doing. This week, unprompted by me, at least 5 different people have told me over the last two days how much they like Ask's new interface. Tonight at dinner, that's how one of these conversation kicked off. But soon (and this also was a recurring theme) it veered in the direction of "I really like Ask, but what's up with their TV ads?"
  • Is MyLifeBits The Future Of Personalized Search?
    Ever since I got into the search marketing business, I've been telling anyone who'd listen that search is so much more than keyword listings. And, no, I'm not referring to alternative formats like images and video or platforms like mobile and RSS. Search is fundamentally changing the way we live and the world around us. Never have I felt this with more conviction than after reading Peter Morville's "Ambient Findability." In his chapter on "intertwingularity," Morville highlights MyLifeBits, a research project being conducted by Microsoft, whose aim is to be a "lifetime store of everything -- at least everything we …
  • Google's Faces Of The Stranger: The Babysitter
    Is Google a technology company? A media company? An incubator? The incubator analogy may fit best, with Google nurturing a few smash hits (the search engine with AdWords, the AdSense network), some successes that still face a crowded competitive landscape with no runaway market leader (News, Gmail, Maps), some struggling also-rans (Froogle, Checkout), and a handful of discontinued bombs (Answers, the Google Video store for TV show downloads). This doesn't include the extensive portfolio of acquisitions and investments.With such a roster, the verb "to Google" can mean many things to those actively watching the search engine -- I mean, whatever …
  • How Search Will Save American Democracy
    While we're all familiar with search as an advertising medium, we're less aware of search as a democratizing force. That's why I'd like to devote this week's column to how search will change the nature of American election coverage -- putting the national campaign discourse into the hands of voters, and out of the hands of the press.
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